Sri Aurobindo Rural & Village Action & Movement (SARVAM) started its work with two villages in the Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. The project’s primary focus is on an integral village development programme which will help the community to come out of their cycle of poverty. Today, Sarvam is working in 15 villages in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry covering a population of about 15,500 belonging to 3,600 households. A dedicated and active group of people have been organized in each village to work with the rest of the community in every field.
SARVAM’s role is primarily that of a catalyst and facilitator, motivating and helping the community to contribute and take responsibility for creating change in their own lives. The rural development programme aims to:
- Help the entire village become a model village
- Inspire the village community to take charge of their own destiny and future
- Make a genuine difference to their way of living, thinking and being
- Research new and creative ideas to develop a sustainable, scalable and replicable model
- Create an International Centre for Rural Development and Training based on a holistic approach, which will reach out to other villages, NGOs and Government agencies
The programme covers a wide range of activities, integrating all aspects of life such as physical and economic development which uses local material and technology; empowerment of women and harmonious relationships within the family; cultural and aesthetic development; a new approach to housing, technology, water and waste management, renewable energy, sanitation and hygiene, suited to local conditions, and a new model of local governance.
Grama Pudhiya Udhayam (‘New Village Dawn’) is a monthly newspaper. Printed in Tamil, the local language, the newspaper is managed almost entirely by the village youth, with minimal support from SARVAM. The villagers participate in growing measure in the production of the newspaper. Since much of the TV, print media, and radio come from outside, it is important to have media that is empowering, produced by the village about the village. Recently, a Community Radio Station (Pudhiya Udhayam) was also launched by SARVAM. Pudiya Udayam’s primary objective is to broadcast programmes that are inclusive of all issues facing the target villages and localities ensuring that the community is educated, informed and entertained. It is hoped that numerous facets of local culture and tradition would be preserved via this powerful medium.